Slow Cooker Cooking Tips
I have been using a slow cooker/crock pot for as long as I can remember. The convenience is wonderful. I normally cook in my slow cooker 2 to 3 times a week. Especially on nights I am working late. I recently purchased a brand new slow cooker. I already have 2 others. I wanted one that I had more control of the length of cooking time when I was away. Here are some basic tips for cooking with a slow cooker.
1. Only fill the crock 2/3 full. The food will not cook properly if it is over filled.
2. Remove excess fat or skin from meats before using in slow cooker recipes. Fatty foods cook more quickly.
3. Foods on the bottom will cook faster. Put potatoes or fresh vegetables on the bottom for this reason.
4. Use cheaper cuts of meat in the slow cooker. They usually have less fat and will result in very tender meat.
5. Do not lift the lid to stir. Each time you lift the lid you need to increase the cooking time by 20 minutes.
6. For best results cook ground meats before cooking in the slow cooker.
7. Large meats can be browned before cooking but it is not necessary.
8. Liquids do not boil away in the slow cooker. To adapt a recipe to the slow cooker reduce the liquid by 1/2 to 1/3 unless you are making rice or soup.
9. For safe food handling always thaw meat before cooking.
10. Low is 200 degrees. High is 300 degrees.
11. The USDA recommends that you test your slow cooker and make sure it’s working properly.
Fill the crock 1/2 to 2/3 full with water, cover and heat for 2 hours. Remove lid and quickly take temperature of the water. It should read at least 165 degrees. If not you should discard your slow cooker. If it does replace the lid and continue heating for 6 more hours. If it reaches 185 at this point your slow cooker is safe to use.The newer slow cookers seem to cook a little hotter then the old ones. I believe this is due to the food safety issue.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share on slow cookers?